(A guest post by Pat Mastors & edited by Jessica Mastors & Komal Garewal)
Entrepreneurs in general are known to share five “C” traits: Commitment, Confidence, Creativity, Courage and Collaboration.
But in medical entrepreneurship, the other “C” is for “Crazy”.
There are so many disconnects, agendas, and bureaucracies in health care, you’d have to be nuts to go there, right? But, when it gets personal, you’re driven by the crazy notion that you can make it better for patients and for the people you love(d).
Medical entrepreneurs are not born – they are made when dead ends are reached. Dead ends for the ones they love. The craziness starts at that dead end, when they hear: “That was all that could have been done.”
One can imagine how any spirit, entrepreneurial or not, might writhe under the weight of this answer. And MedStartr, a crowdfunding platform for health projects, shows us just how personal the drive for change and progress is.
Take a look at some of the most passionate “Crazies” & the tremendous projects they’ve created:
Regina Holliday, a young art teacher and mother of two, who lost her husband to kidney cancer. Frustrated at the government’s efforts and pace to include patient voices in policy-making, she crowdfunded the first-ever national conference on partnering with patients. Just three months, the conference took place in Kansas City.
Two sisters, Kara & Kristin, who lost their mom to breast cancer and themselves got preventative mastectomies and hysterectomies. They couldn’t find a bra that fit their newly reconstructed breast. So, they created one that made them feel normal, comfortable, and supported.
Pat Mastors. After losing her father in the hospital to complications of a C.diff infection, Pat understood firsthand how vulnerable patients are to catching hospital infections. Feeling that patients were unable to engage in their own care and be their own advocates, she created a “portable patient advocate” or PatientPod, that clips onto bed rails and wheelchairs.
As Florence Nightingale said, “Apprehension, uncertainty, waiting, expectation, fear of surprise, do a patient more harm than any exertion.”
Pat Mastors knew this. She wrote: “The truth is, when you have a devastating personal experience, you can’t help but imagine the next person walking in your shoes. You want that person to be able to feel comforted, safe and in control when you or your loved one did not.” Read more about her story and drive behind patient advocacy, here.
The projects on Medstartr.com above reflect and affirm this basic humanity. Others you’ll find there—IT solutions and technologies, for instance— also serve this goal.
We can’t ensure that a nurse is always there to comfort us, or that a physician will have the time to really listen to us.
But the solutions that minimize cost inefficiencies, inform patients, cut wait times, and make critical information easier to find just might allow providers to focus more on the human needs of the person in front of them.
This can turn patients back into humans, back from victims, back into engaged and empowered people.
Florence Nightingale would certainly approve. And if MedStartr projects had existed in her day, she’d probably find a way to fund them.